April 7, 2011

Deadly Supervirus found in New Delhi

HEALTH - A deadly supervirus has been found in 24% of New Delhi's water supply.

The new drug-resistant bacteria, known as NDM-1, known as the New Delhi Supervirus is rapidly spreading through India's water supply and health experts say it could potentially spread to the rest of the world.

The new superbug can only be treated with a couple of highly toxic and expensive antibiotics, so toxic that the patient has a small chance they might die from the antibiotics rather than the virus itself. The superbug was first spotted in 2008 when it popped up in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and Sweden... and were all infections caused by people who had recently traveled to or had medical procedures in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Last Autumn British scientists took 51 samples of drinking water and found the supervirus in 2 of the samples. The new results show the same superbug in 11 of the samples collected.

The superbug in question is a hybrid of 11 different bacteria including dysentery and cholera. Its the kind of virus that would normally only be found in a laboratory, but due to India`s growing medical vacation industry seems to have evolved naturally from too many viruses being in a contained space.

Mark Toleman, a senior researcher investigating the superbug, estimates about 500,000 people in New Delhi are now carrying the superbug gene naturally in their gut bacteria, but they aren`t getting sick because many Indian people have become immune to these bacteria strains.

For travelers visiting India however the best advice is to not drink the water.

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